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Golden Buckeye Prescription Card Implementation Delayed

Uniform Prescription Drug Card Legislation to be Re-Introduced

Legislative Update February 2003
Alyson Welsh, Director of Government Affairs

Golden Buckeye Prescription Card Implementation Delayed

Governor Bob Taft announced that the implementation of his “Golden Buckeye Prescription Discount Card” program would be delayed for at least six weeks in an attempt to convince more pharmacies to participate in the program. The Taft Administration has also publicly criticized four drug makers for their unwillingness to participate in the Golden Buckeye Card program.

During the first month of 2003, Governor Taft began his second term as Ohio’s top leader sending strong messages to those involved in the pharmacy world to encourage participation in this program. The Columbus Dispatch reported that a top administration official stated that “without the participation of the four major drug makers, the Golden Buckeye Prescription Card won’t work.” The article also stated that if the drug companies balk at his demands, the Governor would “have no choice but to seek relief for our senior citizens by supporting the public Prescription Drug Fair Pricing Act or a similar alternative.” In addition to this request, Governor Taft also threatened to have the companies investigated if they do not comply with his demands. The drug makers singled out by Governor Taft for participation in the Golden Buckeye program are AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, and Merck & Co.

The Golden Buckeye Prescription Discount Card program is a voluntary program for Ohio pharmacies. Member Health, the Pharmacy Benefits Manager (PBM) administering the program, has stated that approximately 65 percent of Ohio’s pharmacies have elected to participate in the program, as of the writing of this article.

Uniform Prescription Drug Card Legislation to be Re-Introduced

State Senator Robert Spada (R-Parma) announced that he will be re-introducing legislation to establish a uniform prescription drug card in Ohio. The Ohio Pharmacists Association (OPA) has been working with Senator Spada on drafting legislation to be introduced in the 125th Ohio General Assembly. In the last Ohio General Assembly, Senator Spada sponsored Senate Bill 291 that was based on Indiana’s uniform prescription drug card legislation that was signed into law. The Ohio bill was assigned to the Senate Health Committee where OPA testified in support of the legislation. OPA has been working with legislators to impress upon them the time that can be saved with making these changes to insurance cards for the pharmacist, if this legislation is passed. OPA will continue to lobby strongly for quick passage of this bill once it is introduced.

Governor Taft Signs Drug Repository Legislation

On January 6, 2003, Governor Bob Taft signed into law House Bill 221, sponsored by State Representative Kirk Schuring (R-Canton). HB 221 will establish a drug repository program in Ohio that will allow for the donation of unused, unopened prescription drugs in unit-of-use packaging to participating health care clinics and pharmacies. These drugs will then be re-dispensed to individuals who have met eligibility requirements set forth by the state. Also under the law, physicians, drug manufacturers and pharmacists cannot be held liable if they choose to participate in the program. The bill will become effective in early April 2003.

In the meantime, the State Board of Pharmacy (BOP), in conjunction with the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), will be establishing a list of drugs that will be eligible for donation under the program. In addition, BOP will be forming a committee to determine eligibility requirements for individuals to utilize the program, as well as a restocking fee for pharmacists.
Participation in the drug repository program is voluntary for pharmacies. OPA will be monitoring the rules being drafted in accordance with HB 221.

125th Ohio General Assembly

The 125th Ohio General Assembly, which reflects November 2002 election results, is listed on pages 20 and 21. Please make an effort to get to know your new or current legislators.

Medicare Vaccine Reimbursement

Medicare reimbursement for vaccine administration has increased significantly for 2003, effective March 1. For Ohio, the reimbursement has increased from $3.76 to $6.86. Medicare-covered vaccines include influenza (code G0008) and pneumococcal (code G0009).

Palmetto GBA is the claims coordinator for Medicare Part B in Ohio and West Virginia. Visit their website: www.PalmettoGBA.com for any questions or concerns.

Get Involved Politically !
Join other pharmacists and become a “key legislative contact” for your area. This is a great way to establish and/or maintain relationships with key state officials.
To register online as a Legislative Contact, $$Link,AWS_SSL:DisplayInputForm&FormID=18,CLICK HERE!$$
Or you may contact Alyson Welsh at awelsh@ohiopharmacists.org to get involved!

What is the Ohio Pharmacy PAC?
The Pharmacy Political Action Committee is a voluntary, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization of pharmacists who are interested in promoting good government and public health. Pharmacy PAC money contributed by pharmacists goes to help candidates who support pharmacy in Ohio. That's right, your money is used to support political clout for Pharmacy … right here in Ohio!

To make a secure online donation to the Ohio Pharmacy PAC, $$Link,AWS_SSL:DisplayInputForm&FormID=37, CLICK HERE!$$

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